STARKVILLE – Mississippi State saw its seven-game home winning streak at Humphrey Coliseum ended on Thursday night.
TCU led for 39 of the game’s 40 minutes, improving to 3-0 on the road this season, with a 71-61 victory as part of the Big 12-SEC Challenge.
The Horned Frogs led by as many as 18 points in the second half but a 16-4 run by the Bulldogs closed the gap within three points with 2:28 remaining. But TCU was able to close things out on a 12-5 run of its own.
The Frogs (5-3) have won five of their last six outings.
“We made a comeback and played hard but that was out of desperation,” said MSU coach Rick Ray. “That really doesn’t count, you’ve got to do that from the beginning. We’re not playing that hard or in desperation from the very beginning. It’s great that we came back but it’s going to be like that every single time until we play defense and buy in from the very beginning.”
For the second straight game, Craig Sword led the Bulldogs with 24 points. Sword shot 9-of-12 from the field, slashing to the basket against the Horned Frogs’ 2-3 zone.
“Coach told us we were going to have to attack (the zone),” Sword said. “We didn’t know they were going to be in it the whole game. But once we figured that out, we really had to attack the rim to get better shots.”
Sword was the only MSU player in double figures as it shot 42.9 percent from the field. The Bulldogs made just 3-of-18 behind the arc with freshman IJ Ready knocking down all three of his 3-pointers in his first game back from a hamstring injury.
Ready scored nine points in 23 minutes off the bench after missing five games.
“I was just trying to make plays so we could win,” Ready said. “I was open so I took them. We have to have more guys help Chick (Sword) score points on the offensive end, it can’t just be one. And if we’re going to shoot 3’s then we actually have to have guys come in and shoot 3’s at practice. We can’t just come out and shoot them.”
Hill leads Frogs
Charles Hill Jr. led TCU with 20 points in 24 minutes off the bench. Kyan Anderson added 16 points while Michael Williams chipped in 11. Karviar Shepherd grabbed 16 rebounds finishing just shy of a double-double with nine points.
State returns to action on Dec. 13, taking on Southeastern Louisiana at 7 p.m. in the BancorpSouth Arena in Tupelo.